Unity, a single word, simple at first look is not that easy to encompass and grasp when explored deeper. Whose unity and for what purpose, and what should be the parameters to measure the nature and level of unity. Let us proceed with some obvious and some unobvious questions.
Q.1. Is it the unity, within myself, the sense and purpose of life as I understand and the life I have spent and is spending now? Am I at peace within myself?
Q.2. Is it the unity as family, the extended family, the tribe, the clan or the society?
Q.3. Is it the unity as a people, the nation or the country in the political sense of the phrase?
Q.4. Do we strive to achieve unity or, are we trained and accustomed to achieve unity thru convergence of the purpose or the supreme goal or the objective?
The last here, is to study, explore and analyze to discover unity, by discovering its opposite, i.e., the crisis of identity. What do I think, or we think we are, and our character and behavior has to be?
Unity Within. Am I united within myself? I am miser of miser for some and sometimes; yet I am known to be philanthropist among many and most of the time. Contribution for charity is an organized and a yearlong activity for me. I am broad minded and magnanimous most of the time and generally known to be. I overlook mistakes and even foul play. However, some detest me for being too principled and strict. Look what Dr. Iqbal says about himself:
ہے عجب مجموعہ اضداد اے اقبال تو
رونق ہنگامہ محفل بھی ہے تنہا بھی ہے
Family, Clan and Society. I am very different than ‘myself’ when I am part of my extended family and clan, ‘Dogar’. All near ones fear me as too observant and non-sparing old man. ‘Ghumans’ fear me too. They are our number one rivals in the town. When I was judge; later I became CJ as well’; it was always difficult to do decide when a case between a Dogar and a non-dogar. Though I never let it be evident. As Tribe I want representation in the government; may it be Tajik, Uzbek, Bangash or Durrani. Lest I become a threat to the Unity of the government and law and order within the country, to say the least. In urban societies and metropolitans, as a clan I can compete with the rest, whether known or unknown, by having business cartels [Chanioty (sheikh)] and country wide school systems owners [Kasuris] and charity organisations [Edhi]. I could be part of mafias, like land grabbers in big cities; especially when I have some of our clan members in positions of strength in the provincial or federal government. As [Baluch] I was head of two killer’s gangs in Lyari. Sardars [Baluch like Gabol] in government waderas, [Zardari] saved me. Good I had enough money to pay to one Cheetah SSP [Rao].
Unity as a People and Nation. How much are we as a people aware of our unity; and levels higher i.e., nation, country and ideology. May it be used as a guideline for the order. We are generally weak in higher orders; the world over. We are only stronger across the (fault) lines of differences, of competitors (Chinese vs. Americans), of traditional foes (French vs. Brits) and Pakistanis vs. Indians. Think of Arabs, they are all badly divided into tribes; yet united against (Ajmi) Iranians. The ethnic and linguistic divide at times puts me into a divined divide, thousands of miles on the opposite poles like Sindhi vs. Urdu speaking, Kurds vs. Turks. All my positive points, my faculties and prowess sometime (my unity within) appears with fearsome animosity against rest of my brothers and sisters; the sons and daughters of one man called Adam pbuh. Do not recall Khmer rouge rule in Kampuchea. And that of Nazis against Jews. Smaller and pettier identities attract me more when it is matter of fixing priorities. And making a final decision whom to side with; and against whom.
When it is cricket match against India and for that matter any other country, I’m an all-out Pakistani at intense war against the rivals.
nity thru convergence for Grand and Supreme Goal. I happened to attend a seminar on 31st Aug at Council of Islamic Ideology (CII). Mr. Javed Ahmed was the illustrious speaker. He was of the opinion that we are faced with the threat to our existence as Muslim and as Pakistani. He was of the view that no society can progress without diversity and being pluralist. These thoughts gave new meanings and measures to my previous study on ‘Crisis of Identity and Resulting Character.’[i] I will be using excerpts from it to explain multiplicity of identity and the relationship of identity with the character. The simplest examples could be a father, a son and a grandfather could be the same person at the same time. Or the level of diversity can be explained and thus unity can be questioned when same person is Bhutto, Zardari, Male, Sindhi, Sunni, and co-chairperson of …. , as well. How can five millions of such can be united? Yes, they can be. The answer is in affirmative. They can be united for a superior cause, for the ultimate goal. In fact this is the unity. They all voted for the separation from Bombay presidency in 1925 and later under Act of 1935 Sindh was made a separate Province[ii]. All can be united for the superior purpose, provided we learn it from the one, the Creator and the life giver.
Quran 98:7 (And) lo! those who believe and do good works are the best of created beings.
Quran. Translated by Pickthall M.M.
Thus benevolence, and for all of His creatures is the supreme purpose of life. And the criteria to be adjudged. In the words of last Prophet:
خیر الناس من ینفع الناس
Best out of you is the one who is best for the mankind.
Air and water, both, are His creations. I hope no doubt there. By the Quaranic injunctions the better out of us is the one who does not pollute and protects (its nature and chemistry) and help it reach it to His creatures as pure as He created. Thus such are His vice-regent who are graded best out of His creatures. Does anyone find any dividing lines, the competitors to beat and rivals to hate and defeat? No, but:
تعاونو علی البر وتقوٰی ولاتعاونو علی الاثم والعدوان 5:2 قرآن
…but help ye one another unto righteousness and pious duty. Help not one another
unto sin and transgression…[iii] Translations by Pickthall M M
Mr. Javed Ahmed described plurality and diversity as a spread in horizontal axis. In my opinion diversity and plurality works as potentials to grow. To raise question, query and turn every dawn into a new day. It is possible when one is brave enough to question his/her own ideas, conclusions and inferences of yesterday. When one can register his/her shortfalls and mistakes of yesterday, week, month or the year.
Crisis of Identity. A detailed study was carried out by Ms. Hajra Saeed and me to evaluate the crisis of identity and the resultant character or the exhibited behavior. It was a primary research. Out of 87 volunteers 61 responded. Over 1700 questions were processed. There is a detailed paragraph followed by a schedule on conceived and popular believes about the identities and character relationship. It is based on, ‘What I think I am’, say as SHO; then, what I believe ‘What others think I am’; and how must I behave in public, and in privacy. For details please see p7[iv].
See this diagram, it explains multiplicity of identities and, therefore, probable lack of unity, or at least difficulty in achieving unity for the superior or common purpose or the goal.
Multiplicity of Identity
This diagram above may be re-related to the table above, and a prudent reader may be asked to make a considered guess, how much united he might find a Pakhtoon living in Karachi, and a President of APMSO, for a supreme goal.
Let us see this diagram where the plurality and diversity is shown as deviation, differences in thoughts and exhibited in the customary behaviors and even clashes in horizontal axis.
Plurality and Diversity of All Kinds & Nature.
Different Levels of the Commonality of the Goals
Conclusion. Unity may never be achieved in its absolute form and meanings. Thus it is like life; an ever going struggle and strife. See Ayah 2 of Sura 67 (Al-Mulk). [76:2. Who hath created life and death that He may try you, which of you is best in conduct; and He is the Mighty, Forgiving, translation by Pickthall.] Hence it is an evergreen objective and goal. Keep striving to be as benevolent as possible for His universe. All diversities, should be taken as the variety, rather novelty of potentials of the people, groups, organisations and people, if one may say. However, it shall remain an ordeal, not that easy to rise above and sacrifice the self, ego, petty identities for the sake of Unity of higher, common identities and the supreme goals. Let it be a matter of choice which goal is considered to be most useful for the mankind, and all of His living and non-living creations. Sure, ponder over it and select your most superior goal whereby your faculties shall be best utilized by the most.
[i] Hakeem, B. (2020). Crisis of Identity and Resulting Character. Life. زندگی , Islamabad: Thinkers Forum Pakistan. pp. 1-16.
[ii] Chaghtai, M. E., Sindh’s Role in Pakistan Movement, Dawn, Karachi, January 24 in 2010.
[iii] Pickthall, M. M. (Trans.). (1999). The meanings of Glorious Quran, 5:2. Beltsville: Amana Publications.
[iv] ibid i.p7.